by James A. Martin

Twitter Android, iOS Apps Get Significant Updates

Jul 13, 20122 mins
iPhoneSocial Networking AppsTablets

Expanded tweets and push notifications are among the new features of the updated Twitter mobile apps for Android and iOS. blogger James A. Martin likes the updates a lot, but in some ways the official Twitter mobile app still doesn't match up to his favorite Twitter app.

Twitter seriously spiced up its Android and iOS apps this week with some cool new features, including expanded tweets and enhanced search functionality.

Expanded tweets have been available for a while on, but now you can view multimedia within a tweet from Twitter content partners such as MLB, Etsy, and C-SPAN using the Android and iOS apps. It’s definitely convenient, and it’s a stealthy way for Twitter to create more “stickiness” around its app and website. Twitter says this feature is “rolling out gradually,” so don’t expect to see a lot of expanded tweets right now.

Another new feature is Twitter’s “enhanced experience,” in which Twitter curates the “best tweets and photos” from users at a specific event, such as a NASCAR race. Enhanced experience is listed among the new features for the Twitter iOS app (current version: 4.3) but not, for some reason, for Android (current version: 3.3.0).

The Twitter app also improved its search auto-complete function, in line with its recent search improvements.

But the enhanced push notifications are my favorite new feature. If there’s a Twitter account you follow closely, you can receive push notifications on your mobile device whenever that account tweets or retweets.

Setting up push notifications isn’t terribly intuitive, however. For instance, to receive push notifications on my iPhone when the Twitter account (@CIOonline) tweets or retweets, I had to search for the account using the @Connect tab in the app. Then I clicked the “Turn on notifications” button. Next, I clicked on the Me tab, and then Settings and Notifications. From there, I selected Tweets and turned on notifications for the CIO account. That’s a lot of work, but the payoff is worth it.

Twitter iPhone screen shot

As much as I like the updated Twitter app, I’m not ready to give up the excellent, free HootSuite app (available for iOS and Android). Unlike Twitter, HootSuite lets you send the same status update from multiple Twitter accounts—as well as from Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media networks.

Despite that limitation, Twitter is continuing to evolve nicely, both on the Web and in mobile app form. It’s becoming a richer, more rewarding place to consume content, not just share it.